By Stephen Dafoe
Riviere Qui Barre – A nine-year-old Camilla School student’s mission to help the homeless is continuing on for another year after making an almost $5,000 donation to the Hope Mission in Edmonton just before Christmas.
Philanthropist and Grade 4 student Brooke Bonin who founded the Lucky Foundation became aware of the plight of the homeless last summer after seeing a video at a Christian summer camp. That vision of reality set her mind to work on how she could help. A number of fundraisers were held at the school leading up to Christmas culminating in Brooke being able to present a cheque for $4,823.39 to the Hope Mission Dec. 23.
“She was so surprised, she was going to faint,” Brooke said of presenting the giant cheque to Kelsey Strachan, Hope Missions public relations representative. “They said it would mostly be used on feeding the homeless because each meal for each person takes $2.75. And they usually have a thousand a day.”
Not only did the money raised by Brooke and her fellow Camilla students go a long way to helping feed some of Edmonton’s homeless; the 9-year-old had the opportunity to roll up her sleeves and help serve some food in person. Miss Bonin said she and her family attended the Hope Mission Dec. 28 and served food, a Ukrainian meal that put a smile not only on those receiving but those giving.
“It was awesome – even my brother was smiling,” she said. “When I saw all those people eating I said, ‘That’s like a lot of people.’ It was six or seven tables and each table contained about 50 people.”
Last summer a video on the homeless compelled the elementary school student to do something to help the homeless; seeing them face to face at the Hope Mission in December has strengthened her resolve to continue to do all she can to help those less fortunate than she and her family.
“It was maybe -25 degrees out there and that’s how cold it was. And all they had was a little sweater and like maybe some had sweaters, some of them didn’t,” Miss Bonin explained. “Most had some jeans or some sweatpants on.”
The experience has left the Camilla student wanting to come up with more ideas for fundraisers that can raise much needed money to ensure the homeless have food.
Plans are already underway to see if a bottle drive and mini garage sale can be held at the school, the first as soon as possible, the latter possibly around Easter. Miss Bonin is also hoping teachers will get stuck to the idea of helping the homeless, figuratively and literally. Under Miss Bonin’s scheme, students would get to duct tape their teachers to the gymnasium wall for a small fee and guess how long they stay stuck there.
Having exceeded her original goal with the first fundraising initiative, Miss Bonin said she does not really have a financial target in mind for the second round of the Lucky Foundation’s quest to help the homeless. “I’m just going to get the money again and do it,” she said.